Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT April-June 2011 Contents aircraft. There is nothing perfect. We
lost sight of the goal," Crutchfield said.
"Even though technology will change
and the environment will change, the
aim point needs to remain the same."
Crutchfield noted that after 22 years in
the Comanche timeline, only two air-
craft were produced, versus the UH-1's
eight-year timeline, in which 16,000
As the life-cycle manager of manned
and unmanned aviation weapon sys-
tems, Program Executive Office (PEO)
Aviation is tasked with supporting
overseas contingency operations while
also maintaining Army aviation for
the Current Force and transforming
for the Future Force. The PEO man-
ages seven project offices and 2,250
personnel, with a Program Objective
Memorandum (POM) of $35 billion
in FYs 10-15 and foreign military sales
case value of $7 billion.
But while PEO Aviation's total FY10
budget was $7 billion, its S&T budget
was only $107 million.
"How can you look to the future
when you've got a $7 billion [budget]
with just over $100 million in S&T?"
Crosby asked. "How can you modern-
ize? How can you sustain? How can you
go to the next vertical-lift technology?"
The operational tempo of Army
aviation is high, Crosby noted, with
more than 4.3 million flight hours
since February 2003. Crosby advised
that flying aircraft at this rate greatly
shortens their life cycle; a projected
20-year life cycle can be compressed to
five years. Reset, while it can extend the
life of the aircraft, doesn't negate the
wear and tear on that aircraft.
"Are we going to continue to sustain
these aircraft for another 20, 30,
40 years?" Crosby asked the AUSA
audience. "That's the struggle we're
going to be looking to resolve." The
only new aircraft program in the PEO
Aviation portfolio is unmanned aerial
systems, he noted. Every other program
is one of modernizing or upgrading
Crutchfield's personal commitment to
Army aviation, he said, is to remain the
"combat multiplier of choice" for the
Army's ground maneuver commanders,
provide resolute leadership in support-
ing continuous combat operations, and
prepare for the future.
"Nothing is more important than how
we train and sustain the flow of highly
qualified aviation professionals to rap-
idly meet the demands of commanders
worldwide and expertly employ the full-
spectrum capabilities aviation brings to
the Army and the Joint Force," he said.
"I want to know what's good about Army
aviation and what can be improved, so
we can meet the demands of the com-
manders and Soldiers in the field."
Crutchfield referred to a series of "avia-
tion imperatives" that are necessary to
meet his goals:
• Be rapid and responsive
• Keep "cost culture" in mind
• Professionally develop the aviation force
• Maintain strong relationships with local,
regional, and national communities
• Eliminate the aviation training backlog
• Significantly reduce aviation accidents
Learning from the Past
Crutchfield stressed the importance of
past experience in looking forward. "We're
here today because of young Soldiers,"
he said. He reminisced that when he was
training as a young second lieutenant, he
learned how to fly on the UH-1 Hueys
under the instruction of Vietnam veterans,
whom he called "visionaries." He eventu-
ally flew the AH-64 Apache helicopter in
Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
"They knew we would need new air-
craft and equipment. I owe the same
vision to today's young Soldiers," he
said. "They will not fight the same war
we are. Twenty-five years from now,
I don't want them, I don't want my
grandchildren, to fly the AH-64Z."
Currently, the Army uses the AH-64D
"Our [aviation] branch has to lay out
what it needs, and it must be done now.
It's all about the future," Crutchfield
said. "We may not get all we want, but
we're going to get all we need. We must
have a healthy aviation branch, postured
for full-spectrum operations in defense
of our Nation and our national inter-
ests. We may not get it all right, but we
must not get it all wrong," he said.
Current vertical-lift platforms are critical
enablers in today's conflicts. Without
planning for their future, Army avia-
tion will be unprepared when these
platforms need replacing, Crosby said.
Almost 50 percent of future vertical-lift
decision points (e.g., whether to begin
acquisition of replacement aircraft)
occur within the next 10 years, and 85
percent within the next 15 years.
"How can you look to the future when you've got a
$7 billion [budget] with just over $100 million in
S&T?" asked Program Executive Officer Aviation
MG William T. Crosby, then a brigadier general, Jan.
13 at the AUSA Institute of Land Warfare's Army
Aviation Symposium and Exposition. (U.S. Army
photo by Todd Mozes.)
58 APRIL--JUNE 2011
Links Archive Army ALT July-September 2011 Army ALT January-March 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page